Founded in 2009 by John Oakes and Colin Robinson, OR Books was designed to be a new kind of publisher. Its business model was based on bypassing bookstores, using print-on-demand technology (printing a book only when it has been purchased), and the web to sell its books and e-books directly to consumers.

Although the OR Books model “actually works,” Oakes said, both publishing veterans acknowledge that they have changed their minds about bookstores—especially independent retailers. “A general trade publisher needs independent bookstores; they are essential to our well-being,” Oakes said. Robinson agreed: “Selling direct gives us the ability to publish quickly and the margin is very good, but to reach a wide audience you need to be in stores too.” Bookstore sales now represent 20%–30% of OR Books’ total revenue, and they are growing, Oakes said. E-books, he added, are about a third of most titles’ sales—more for tech books and less for other categories.

Read the full article at Publishers Weekly.

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